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Victorious No camp vows to press for royal commission into sex abuse of Indigenous kids

Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price was a central figure in the Liberal Party's opposition to the Voice to Parliament. Photo: Getty

Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price was a central figure in the Liberal Party's opposition to the Voice to Parliament. Photo: Getty Photo Getty

The ‘No’ side on the Indigenous Voice is arguing for more practical measures to address disadvantage and social dysfunction after a failed referendum.

Every jurisdiction except the ACT voted down the proposal to put a non-binding Indigenous advisory body in the Constitution. Slightly more than 60 per cent of Australia voted against it, according to the latest tally.

The Coalition will now begin crafting the policies the opposition will take to the next federal election.

Shadow attorney-general Michaelia Cash said Northern Territory senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price would spearhead the effort within the Coalition as it worked to bring the nation back together after a divided vote.

“This is a time now to embrace the opportunities presented to us by Jacinta and move forward together,” she told AAP.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton recommitted to standing up a royal commission into child sexual abuse in Indigenous communities and an audit of spending on Indigenous programs.

He had previously committed to holding a second referendum solely on Indigenous recognition.

But Coalition frontbenchers have toned down their commitment to a second poll in office, with Senator Cash offering staunch support for the audit and royal commission but not the referendum.

Coalition’s dissidents

Asked whether it was still Liberal policy after Nationals Leader David Littleproud said his party hadn’t committed to it, Senator Cash said, “we need to let the dust settle”.

“As Peter (Dutton) always says, we will formulate our policies and announce them in the lead up to the next election,” she said.

The opposition has also been forced to defend its record in government after questions about why they’re calling for an audit into spending now after a decade in office.

Senator Cash said now was the perfect time for an audit as the Coalition had a senator with lived experience in rural Indigenous communities in Senator Price.

Asked about the lived experience of former Liberal Indigenous affairs minister Ken Wyatt – the first Aboriginal man appointed to cabinet – she again pointed to Senator Price.

“This is not about blaming past governments, this is about saying Jacinta Nampijinpa Price brings a unique perspective to the Australian parliament,” she said.

“She has spent her life fighting for better outcomes for the most marginalised in society – she was born in Alice Springs, she lives in Alice Springs, this is a time now to embrace the opportunities presented to us … and move forward together.”

Mr Dutton said Australians expected their tax dollars to be spent appropriately and it was reasonable to ask the government where the money was going.

Prominent ‘No’ campaigner Warren Mundine said his side was serious about improving outcomes and closing the gap.

He said Mr Dutton was out there “pushing this line”, but added that he needed to “sit down (and) change some of his rhetoric” to unite the nation and move forward.

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